After the Fukushima disaster in 2011, the European Union introduced additional controls on certain foods from Japan. Now the last restrictions are declining. On the other hand, China is bound by an import ban.
More than a dozen years after the Fukushima nuclear disaster, all food from Japan can be exported back to the European Union without additional controls. EU Health Commissioner Stella Kyriakides said that thanks to the Japanese authorities’ tireless work and close cooperation over the past few years, restrictions on food imports from Fukushima could be lifted.
The EU Commission justified this with the product’s positive test results. Restrictions were introduced in 2011 and have been gradually eased as the risks have decreased.
A tsunami caused by an earthquake caused several core failures at the Fukushima Daiichi Nuclear Power Plant. For this reason, some foods can only be sold in the European Union if it is proven that they have not exceeded maximum levels for the radioactive cesium isotope. After the last examination in September 2021, only wild mushrooms, certain types of fish and edible wild plants were subject to special controls, according to the EU Commission communication.
The dispute over the cooling of waste water in the sea
However, the authority emphasized that it was important for the Japanese government to continue to monitor production in the country for radioactivity. This applies “in particular to fish, fish products and algae located near the point of release of the contaminated cooling water”. The background is that the reactors at Fukushima must continue to be cooled by water stored in tanks. Recently, a dispute broke out over the fact that Japan wants to discharge the treated water into the sea. The International Atomic Energy Agency agreed.
On the other hand, China announced last week that it would abide by the existing ban on food imports from ten Japanese prefectures, including Fukushima. It said in a statement that they wanted to prevent “radioactively contaminated Japanese food” from reaching China. This action was justified by safety concerns about Japanese plans for cooling water.